News

30 years in the army, and he’d do it all again

STANDING PROUD: Barry De Bomford with his daughter Kathy Gunning at Yamba Anzac Day dawn service.
STANDING PROUD: Barry De Bomford with his daughter Kathy Gunning at Yamba Anzac Day dawn service.

"I LOVED it. I would do it again tomorrow" aren't always the words you hear from diggers who saw so much bloodshed, felt so much pain and fought within inches of their lives.

But as they come from the mouth of Barry De Bomford, his words paint a picture of pride and it becomes clear that feeling of knowing you made a difference trumps all.

At age 26, Mr De Bomford was one of the "older fellas" to join the army.

He enlisted in his home state of Tasmania in 1966 and did not retire until they forced him to, 29 years and seven months later.

A former motor mechanic, the parts and machinery he soon learnt to handle were a world away from what he knew in his early 20s.

"It was pretty different, but a few of my mates had joined up and I just thought well, that looks like me too," he said.

He was posted to the 7th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment where he did two tours of Vietnam.

"On the second tour I was wounded in a mining incident and they sent me back home," Mr De Bomford said.

He was soon promoted to Sergeant Major and later relocated to Townsville to the second 4th Battalion where he became a warrant officer.

Between that, and afterwards, Mr De Bomford and his family moved every few years, from Holsworthy, Singleton, Bathurst, Rockhampton, Hobart and back to Sydney.

In 1995 he reached compulsory retiring age of 55 and was forced to leave the order and structured life he knew.

And while his medals leave a lasting memory for the now Yamba resident, they remind him, and all of us, of the mates that never made it back to home soil.

"I lost three fairly close mates, but you just learn to live with it. Life goes on," he said.

"When you're out there everything just happens so fast and sudden, then before you know it it's all over.

"That's why Australian soldiers are so good, they are so well-trained that when something happens, their training just kicks in."

With a smile on his face and his proud daughter, Kathy Gunning, by his side, Mr De Bomford told The Daily Examiner just what the 2015 Anzac Day centenary meant to him.

"This is one of the most important days of our lives."

Mr De Bomford received two Vietnam War medals, two long service medals, one active service medal and an ADF medal.

Topics:  anzac day, army, editors picks, veteran




Winning, and losing, comes at a hefty price

GRASPING GOLD: Excelling at sport is ingrained in the Australian psyche, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

LIFE AS I KNOW IT: The cost of being a sporting nation

Monckton to face Group 2 judiciary

Grafton Ghosts will be sweating on a judiciary decision on Nick Monckton.

Ghosts' five-eighth sent from field for abusing match referee.

Council election candidates clear cobwebs for meeting

Council election candidate Andrew Baker says three other members of the last council: Karen Toms, Jim Simmons and Margaret McKenna should be preferenced after him on ballot paper because of their consistent opposition to plans to slug rate payers with special rate rises.Photo Tim Howard / Daily Examiner

Clarence council election candidates have their first public outing.

Latest deals and offers

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Buddy Guy lead the 2017 Bluesfest charge

Patti Smith is one of the headline acts confirmed for Bluesfest 2017.

Patti, Billy, Buddy and more to headline five-day festival

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep